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OST CD cover

"Some day you'll understand...why the song that lingers...binds us together..."

Full Moon O Sagashite (a.k.a. Full Moon, Full Moon Wo Sagashite; trans: "Looking for the Full Moon") is a seven-volume Shojo Manga series by Arina Tanemura (later adapted into an Anime, which enjoyed high ratings in Japan) about a 12-year-old girl named Mitsuki Koyama who dreams of one day becoming a famous Idol Singer so that she can once again be reunited with Eichi, a boy whom she fell in love with before he moved to America. However, due to a malignant tumor in her throat, she has only one year left to live, but she chooses to forgo surgery, since doing so would cause her to lose her voice forever.

Late one night, she is visited by two cute Shinigami (Meroko and Takuto) who take pity on her and decide to help her jump start her career, by transforming her into a fully-grown 16-year-old named "Full Moon". After she is discovered by a record company, she has to learn to balance her newfound stardom with her normal life as an orphan living under a strict grandmother, and her relationship with the two shinigami who helped her out.

The manga and anime are available in North America via Viz Media. The DVD releases are on indefinite hiatus, only going as far as episode 28. However, all 52 episodes are available on Hulu[1].

Tropes used in Full Moon o Sagashite include:
  • Abusive Parents: Izumi's mother.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: Mitsuki's hair from black to brown. Takuto's hair from black to gray. Fuzuki and Hazuki from blonde to brown. Madoka's hair from straight purple to dark red. Aoi's from green to black! Nobody's eye colors are the same in the anime except for the shinigami. Meroko's outfit is black in the manga but is changed to red in the anime with the consent of Tanemura herself; she designed all the clothes for the anime!
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Izumi loves Meroko loves Takuto loves Mitsuki loves Eichi, who also loved her but can't act on it, because he's dead. In Full Moon, love appears to be a long, lonely one-way street.
    • And then it gets more confusing. Meroko in fact loves Izumi back but he rejected her a long time ago by breaking her heart (but they work it out). Mitsuki reciprocates Takuto's love...only to leave Eichi locked out of it.
  • Berserk Button: Do not let Takuto catch you messing with, flirting with and/or hugging Mitsuki. He. Will. Kill. You.
  • Be Yourself: What Mitsuki/Full Moon learns in episode 5.
  • Body Horror: In the manga, Jonathan ensnares and strangles Izumi by stretching his body.
  • Boy Band: Mitsuki's dad, her doctor, and Takuto made up one in the past.
  • Break the Cutie: In the anime, Mitsuki loses the will to live after finding out Eichi was dead all along and goes into a doll-like state (complete with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness) until Takuto convinces her to live for her own sake. Takuto goes through severe emotional and physical pain from his previous memories.Takuto, Meroko, AND Izumi all have major breakdowns while remembering their (manga-only) suicidal pasts[2].
  • Cheerful Child: Mitsuki. How can you not want to squeeze her to death?
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Oh God, Meroko for Takuto. Very extremely.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Takuto for Mitsuki, moreso in the manga. But he usually ends up sulking in the corner about it instead of plotting how to ruin the competition, unlike Izumi and Meroko who sometimes take their jealousy waaay too far...
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 37. Unbridled cute. And the little toys Mitsuki gives to Takuto and Meroko become plot points.
  • Dead All Along: Eichi; a major difference between the anime and manga versions is when Mitsuki realizes/admits this.
  • Defictionalization: The anime-only Nostalgic Music Box from the Eternal Snow-era episodes was made into an electronic toy by Bandai. Because it was a toy, and not a traditional wind-up music box, this is a borderline example. Besides Eternal Snow, the toy also played "Myself" and "New Future". It is rumored that only 50 copies were made.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the manga, Jonathan is revealed to be a disguise for Sheldan, the head of the death pediatrics ward. In the anime, however, Jonathan is pretty much a throwaway character who only exists to follow Izumi around and annoy him. Sort of justified when you remember that the relevant events in the manga didn't occur in the manga until long after the anime had ended.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Unlike Oshige and the president, whose sexual encounters are explicitly implied, there's a scene where an emotionally distressed Meroko rushes home after discovering her past and attacking Mitsuki. She lets Izumi "comfort" her with a kiss. What follows that is really a mystery.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the manga, how people become Shinigami. Takuto explains this early on, paving the way for tragic Backstory later on. There's also some debate as to whether this is a a punishment or not.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Pretty much everybody in the series while they're being broken or remembering something unpleasant. In the manga, it's especially chilling to look at their faces.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Face Palm: Takuto has some truly epic ones in the anime, on account of being the most logical and intelligent of the trio.
  • Foreshadowing: At the end of episode 39, Mitsuki is talking about seeing Eichi again, and a bell starts ringing. Meroko thinks it's a New Year's bell but Takuto corrects her with "It's a church bell". This scene, while subtle, can actually feel a bit chilling if you already know the plot from there: Eichi's death is revealed naught but three episodes later.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls
  • Forceful Kiss: Played straight in the manga when teenaged Eichi does this to a ten-year-old Mitsuki who hadn't even hit puberty yet. Cue the Squick!
  • Ghost Amnesia
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Mitsuki's classmate asks her if Takuto is the person she likes, to which she denies a little TOO hastily. Hint hint.
  • Heroic BSOD: In the anime when Mitsuki learns that Eichi had died two years ago. Also goes through a brief one in the manga after the Shinigami find out that Eichi has been dead for two years.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Three times. Mitsuki offers her soul to Izumi to save Takuto (though he doesn't take it), Takuto dies not just in body but also in spirit to save Mitsuki, and Meroko sacrifices herself to save Takuto. Thank God all three of them are rewarded...
    • In the manga, this happens to Sheldan and the Death Master.
  • Hot Shoujo Dad: Subverted by Wakaouji-sensei, since he's dead.
    • Actually played pretty straight by Aoi himself if you count flashbacks...
  • Idol Singer: Mitsuki aka Full Moon, Wakamatsu Madoka, Nachi, Takuto used to be one, Oshige almost was.
  • Ill Girl / Littlest Cancer Patient: Mitsuki.
    • Fuzuki was also an Ill Girl in her youth.
  • Important Haircut: In the anime, Meroko shears her hair in order to transfer her powers to the weakening Takuto, letting him transform Mitsuki for her last performance.
  • Inconsistant Translation / Bad Export for You: Untranslated songs and signs aside, in the Hulu version,[3] the first four episodes present the opening credits in their original Japanese (complete with the "Sit away from the TV" message), with the eyecatches featuring the original Japanese title. From episode 5 up to episode 8, overlays are used, with translated versions of the credits, and the logo removed from the eyecatches, and the aforementioned "Sit away from the TV" message also removed. From episode 9 to episode 16 however, no credits (or episode titles) appear at all (though one episode reveals the name of an episode in the subtitles), and the wrong ending[4] is used, compromising the "ending theme starts before credits" effect. Beginning with episode 17, the translated credits, translated episode titles, and the correct opening(s) all mysteriously return, staying for the remainder of the series.
    • In episodes 40 and 41, some lines of dialogue aren't even translated at all, and at least a couple translations either have the wrong context, or are just plain wrong outright. On subject of missing translations however, it seems to only happen when the characters think, including during flashbacks, with the subs randomly showing up then disappearing. The Hulu versions use soft subtitles based on Hulu's closed captioning feature, with thoughts sppearing in italics, so it may or may not be possible that the episodes were being uploaded incorrectly.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Izumi with both Meroko and Takuto. Even more with Takuto because he snaps so easily which Izumi gets pure enjoyment out of.
  • It Was with You All Along: In the manga. Mitsuki's wish is to be with Eichi again, to the point where around the middle of the manga she resolves to commit suicide until Takuto and Meroko snap her out of it. Near the end of the manga, the question is raised that since Takuto and Meroko have changed Mitsuki's fate, how come she can still see shinigami if she's not about to die? The answer: It is possible to see shinigami if a spirit acts as a "filter" to see them through - that is, Eichi's spirit has been with Mitsuki all along, refusing to leave her. This was in fact foreshadowed in an earlier chapter, when Takuto notes that the dying Eichi refused to surrender his soul to Takuto, implying that it went somewhere else, thus "robbing" Takuto of his soul until Eichi accepts Meroko's happiness at the epilogue of the manga and finally ascends to heaven.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Meroko decides this for Takuto and Mitsuki.
    • But not in the manga in which she was actually in love with Izumi the whole time. This trope applies more to Eichi, who is forced to see Mitsuki and Takuto hook up but eventually accepts it in the matter of two pages.
    • This trope also applies to Takuto for Mitsuki until he learns Eichi is dead.
  • I Will Definitely Protect You: Takuto to Mitsuki.
  • I Will Protect Her: Takuto's sworn vow to Mitsuki from episode 11 all the way to the bitter end. Against impossible odds, he keeps his word.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Takuto is a mild example, bit more in the manga than anime.
    • Izumi could also be considered an example of this, at least in the manga. In the anime, he's just a jerk.
  • Kick the Dog: Madoka, but replace "the dog" with "Madoka's cute little pet pig".
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Oshige and Wakaoji share a drunken kiss one night after a night at a bar.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the manga, which had more themes about suicide, life, and death, the anime series uses a brighter color scheme (i.e. changes Meroko's Stripperific costume to red instead of black). An excuse for this may be because the series had overtaken the manga, or, on a smaller scale, Executive Meddling.
  • Likes Older Women: Hilariously averted when Meroko thinks Takuto likes Fuzuki, who is Mitsuki's grandmother. He doesn't. The subtitle when Meroko panics says "She's a fool".
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Mitsuki
  • Luminescent Blush: Takuto. Constantly around Mitsuki.
  • Magical Girl
  • Magic Idol Singer
  • May-December Romance: Compare Mitsuki and Eichi's age difference. Not that bad in age difference, but horrific in age difference in ratio to their current ages. It's something like a twelve-year-old in love with who should be a eighteen-year-old or something.
    • A lot of fans seem to have issues with Takuto getting with Mitsuki when he's only ten years younger than her dad...however, subtracting the years he was in a coma, he's not that much older than her. Even not taking this into account, Takuto was twelve when he joined Route:L (when the band formed), Hazuki had Mitsuki a year after the band formed, Takuto went into his coma about a year after that, making him fourteen. Adding the coma, he's... 25 or 26. Then skip ahead three years to the epilogue. He's about 30 while she's 16; almost twice her age, and mentally he's 17. In Japan, this is a completely legal relationship, for a girl can marry at 16 as long as the boy is 18. We really need to remember differences in culture when it comes to this sort of thing.
  • Mood Whiplash: The amount of Tear Jerkers mixed with the ridiculously upbeat ending creates this trope in High-Octane fuel.
    • Reiterating the whiplash, After Mitsuki is devastated by losing Takuto and Meroko the very end brings them all together one last time. It does not help that the song playing in the background is 'NEW FUTURE'.
    • The upbeat first volume of the manga contrasts heavily with later ones.
  • Non Standard Character Design: Jonathan, who looks like how the artist thought Peeves from Harry Potter looked like-- a non-humanoid smiling ghost in a top hat.
  • Not So Harmless: Jonathan.
  • Oblivious to Love: Mitsuki, WHY can't you realize that Takuto loves you? "They eventually get together".
  • Overtook the Manga: Possibly one of the greatest examples, since the anime started in the same month that the fifth chapter was published and ended a year earlier.
  • Older Alter Ego: Comes with the territory of being a magical girl (at least in this series).
  • Orphean Rescue: The final volumes of the manga have Takuto and Meroko rescuing Mitsuki's soul.
  • Paparazzi
  • Parental Abandonment: A good deal of the cast. Mitsuki and Eichi lost their parents in car accidents, Izumi's father died when he was very young (leading to an abusive mother) and Word of God informs us that Takuto's mother died from a long-term illness when he was nine. No mention of his father.
  • Pettanko: Mitsuki gets insulted when Meroko calls her flat-chested. Granted, she is only twelve years old, though as Full Moon, insists "in this body I have breasts well enough!". Amusingly, Word of God admits that Mitsuki is the most difficult character to draw "because she has no breasts so the balance is all off".
  • The Power of Love: One of the most emotional examples shown in anime: Takuto loses all of his memories, yet when the time comes for Mitsuki to die, he protests, saying he can still feel her in his heart.
  • Princess Curls: Mitsuki in normal form.
  • The Rival: Madoka Wakamatsu, who is friendly with Mitsuki, but highly dislikes her Full Moon alter ego.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Meroko used to wear white as Izumi's partner, but switched to black once he rejected her. Rubbing salt in the wound was that the black outfit was his color.
    • And also, Izumi was the one who gave her the outfit that she changed to.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Takuto spends a whole episode of the anime trying to prevent Mitsuki from sharing this with a boy who just wants to embarrass her, but it turns out the wind knocks Mitsuki and Takuto into an implied accidental kiss.
  • Screw Destiny: Part of Meroko's and Takuto's job is to stop the person or people who would prevent Mitsuki's death in the coming spring. In the end, they save her life themselves.
  • Second Love: Mitsuki's first love was Eichi. She ends up with her second love, Takuto.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Mitsuki after her transformation
  • Shinigami: Two exceedingly cute shinigami give Mitsuki a new lease on life. There are a few other mischievous Shinigami that get tied up with Mitsuki.
  • Snow Means Death
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted in the anime when Mitsuki tries to tell Oshige-san and Dr. Wakaoji that she is Full Moon; she succeeds.
  • Stepford Smiler: Mitsuki. Takuto calls her out for it, leading to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
    • Meroko can pretty much qualify as one too.
  • Theme Naming: Shinigami pairs are named after food.
  • Transformation Sequence: Mitsuki is given one when she turns into Full Moon. A rather simplistic sequence is used for the first half of the series, but a more elaborate looking, Magical Girl-type one was used in the second half. Meroko also gets a short sequence when she shapeshifts.
  • Tsundere: Takuto is one of the few male examples, type A.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Mitsuki looks so much like Hazuki, her late mother that it's painful for her grandmother to even look at her When Mitsuki sees a picture of her mother as a child, even she mistakes it for herself at first.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: A depressing example with Eichi: he confesses his love to Mitsuki right before he is set to leave the country, but Mitsuki is too torn and confused to answer him. He then dies in a plane crash.
  • Unusual Ears: All Shinigami have these.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: In the manga Nachi is actually Madoka's fiance from their childhood. Unlike most of these kinds of relationships it took a good long time, a major rejection, and two plastic surgeries to get them together.
  • Whip It Good: Meroko carries a whip to hunt souls.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Meroko's is pink. Madoka's is purple, and Nachi and Aoi both have green. Sheldan's is silver.

Notes

  1. However, they are based on Viz Media's DVD masters. Additionally, the episodes are subtitled only
  2. Only Takuto's past is explored at length in the anime, and even then it changes the circumstances of his death.
  3. which again, is based on the R1 DVD version
  4. specifically the first
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